Praise the Lord, O my soul.
There was a time when I lived in Aston (where the Pottery is now) and worked in Oxford. Each morning I would leave home just after 7am and cycle the 5 miles into Witney. There I would leave the bike at a friend’s house and get picked up by another friend. 4 of us then shared the daily battle with Oxford’s rush-hour traffic, and eventually I would be dropped off in Summertown to walk the final half mile to my job. In the evening I would do the whole thing again in reverse.
Thinking about all that now, it sounds pretty demanding. But on reflection I realise there are several remarkable signs of God’s blessing:
I owned a home (at least, the Building Society allowed me to think I did). Many millions of people today live in ramshackle huts, lean-to’s, refugee tents, or even on the street.
I had a job that I mostly enjoyed. Many people have lost jobs through the Coronavirus pandemic, causing widespread anxiety, uncertainty and misery.
I lived in a relatively peaceful society and had no real anxiety about my personal security. Thousands today exist in conditions of modern day slavery.
I had good enough health to cycle part of my journey. In many parts of the world, the arrival of a bicycle on the scene would transform a family’s life – as if someone gave us a top of the range Mercedes.
I had friends I could share my travel, and my life, with. Many today feel lonely, isolated, unloved.
I had a wonderful wife and four gorgeous daughters (and still have). So many are innocent victims of divorce, abuse, or unnecessary early death.
I could eat three times a day. How many children survive on one very basic meal per day – and how many do not survive?
I could worship freely, any way I chose, without fear of opposition or persecution. Millions live in fear of arrest, imprisonment, beating and even death, simply because they believe in Jesus.
I could travel to a great many countries without problems (if I saved up enough!) An unimaginable privilege for most of the world’s population.
These blessings probably put me in the top 5 percent of the word’s population.
The old song says ‘Count your blessings, name them one by one, and it will surprise you what the Lord has done’. How dare I complain, grumble, or moan to my wife, or to God, in any way at all?